It was the senior teacher of the University of Westminster’s Music department, Mike Exarchos alias “Stereo Mike”, who scored seventh place at the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) for Greece last Saturday.
With the song “Watch My Dance” the EMI contract holder, MTV award winner and music producer successfully rapped his way into European living rooms even though the odds were against him and his co-performer Loukas Giorkas.
“The Greek media thought we were taking a huge risk with our song as it is a mix of folk and rap, which doesn’t suit the Eurovision formula,” Exarchos recalls.
The Greek radio did not play it much and there was no budget for a promotion video.
Loukas Giorkas, who sang the chorus in Greek, and Mike Exarchos had to do it on their own.
When they won the semi-finals and qualified for the big show the media-mood changed. “It was a lot of soul and spirit that did it,” the rapper says.
Participating proved to be the right decision
Even though Exarchos was skeptical before the ESC whether it would suit his life style and the underground scene which normally is his musical world, he enjoyed the Eurovision experience.
“I thought there was going to be a lot of antagonism between the different acts, but then it was just magic,” Exarchos says.
“Loukas and Anthony from Blue happen to come from the exact same village in Cyprus, so they had a lot to talk about,” Stereo Mike says about the meet up with Blue.
“Actually, I think that Jedward had one of the best songs in the whole competition,” the Greek says.
“I am glad that there is room for more conscious songs like ours and more fun songs like theirs in the Song Contest. And their song was very well produced,” the music expert evaluates.
Back to his day job
Monday morning after flighying in from Dusseldorf with a short visit to Athens he arrived back in London, a little sleep deprived but ready to go back to teaching.
Even though BBC commentator Graham Norton had cheekily wondered on air whether there would be a job to go back to.
But for Exarchos this is his everyday life. “To me it is not an oxymoron anymore. I teach what I do and I do what I teach, which makes me a good teacher, because I know what I am talking about,” the music producer says.
“But the analytic side of teaching also makes me a better performer because I analyse everything I do.”
In a way “Watch My Dance” reflected on the current situation of Greece in the EU. “The song is about survival, about standing up when you fall. It is an example of how you can get on top again,” Exarchos summarised the message. (Read more on that topic on Greg Price’s blog.)
After the more pop orientated experience in Dusseldorf, the rapper is now moving on to a heavier project.
“I am going to collaborate with the heavy metal artist Constantine Shredcore from Greece,” Stereo Mike revealed. “My fans always say that I am a little unpredictable,” the rapping University teacher says winking.
Watch the additional video interview by Douglas Ackerman here:
This interview with Stereo Mike was also published on The Ha1.co.uk.